Category Archives: Simon Peter

What’s the Difference?

There was a little dust-up about a Michael Voris video that I shared called “Do Non-Catholics Go to Heaven?” I thought it was an interesting take on the question especially since we have been hearing so many unorthodox things from priests like the good Reverend R. Barron that we can have a reasonable hope that no one goes to hell.

In my immediate family that includes brothers, sister, their children, and grandchildren and my children and grandchildren—all who were baptized in the Catholic faith—there are only a handful that still attend Mass and believe in their faith and this handful includes my husband and myself.

This hurts me in my soul, because, as we believe, and that video pointed out, in order to get into heaven one has to be in the state of grace (no unrepentant, un-forgiven mortal sins) when one dies. Of course, there is an act of perfect contrition but I am going to say that an act of perfect contrition is probably beyond my feeble attempts because of pride so I need the Sacrament of Reconciliation or as those of us, who aren’t PC, call it, Confession; Just like I need all the sacraments that Jesus gave us as a means to sanctifying grace which we all need to get into heaven. Only the Catholic Church has these sacraments instituted by Christ to give grace. To me, it’s simple to say that I want everything I can have in my arsenal to get to heaven when I die.

I also believe that with God all things are possible so I pray each day for all of my family to return to the faith of their baptism and for some of my grandchildren to actually be baptized. Do I say anything to them personally about my fears? Do I tell them that I cry tears over their apostasy? No, I just love them where they are and pray for their reversion. Of course, I make no apologies for my Catholic Faith and don’t compromise my faith for their sake, so, of course, there are liable to be a few “dust-ups” when I post something that is hard for them to read or hear.

So, a good Protestant friend asked “what is the difference between a faithful Catholic and a faithful Christian?” I’m not sure she is serious about it or if it was meant as a “gotcha” question, so I’m not sure if I will answer it or not. I’ll probably find out first why she asked the question. However, there are some things that I will say.

We believe in Purgatory. We believe that there is a place where we have to be refined like gold in order to enter heaven and be in a Holy God’s presence. Now, no one can judge the individual soul just like I don’t judge my family’s individual souls, however I have a real problem with assuming that all my Protestant brothers and sisters are automatically with Jesus when they die. Sorry, we can only know who is in heaven when the Church has declared them saints. So I continue to pray for them as if they weren’t and are in Purgatory instead. My husband always kids me about how much I pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. I tell him that I am building an army of saints in heaven to pray for me so that I might avoid Purgatory all together.

We believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. We believe that it isn’t only Scripture (Sola Scriptura) but Scripture and Apostolic Tradition passed down from the Apostles to the Catholic Church. We believe that faith without works is dead. No Sola Fides for us. We take to heart Matthew 25 and the Sermon on the Mount. We want to be numbered among those who gave our Lord drink when He was thirsty, food when He was hungry, visited Him when He was in prison. . .you know the rest. No, our works don’t “save us.”   We boast in Christ and Him crucified just like Paul but we also believe like James, show me your works and I will show you your faith.

These are just some of the differences between a Protestant Christian and a Catholic Christian.

However with great blessings come great responsibilities! I believe that it will go worse for Catholics who had the faith and fell from it than those who never had the faith to begin with. That is why I pray for all my family to return to the One True Faith before they die.

Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

May all the Faithful Departed through the Mercy of God, rest in peace!

 

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Filed under Catholic, Christian, Faith, James, Jesus, reconciliation, Sacraments, Sacred Scripture, Simon Peter, St. Paul

The Bread from Heaven John 6: 22-71

If you haven’t done so yet, I would suggest that you stop and read these verses in your own Bible.

6: 27  Food which perishes:  While earthly food is necessary to sustain our life on earth; we need something more to give us supernatural life or to guard us against death. (6: 49)  Only Christ can give us food that satisfies our spiritual hunger and leads us to everlasting life.  Eventually in 6: 50-58, this food will be identified as the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.

6: 31  He gave them bread:  This is a reference to Exodus 14: 4.  The manna that was provided by Moses was a food that was perishable.  Even though it had a heavenly origin, it melted away every morning and turned rotten if stored over night.

6: 32  the true bread:  The manna was merely a sign of the imperishable bread that the Father sends down from heaven in His Son, Jesus.

The Bread of Life Discourse:  Invitation to Faith (6: 35-47)

“I am the Bread of Life.”  This is followed by a string of invitations to come to Jesus and believe in Him for salvation.  The import of this metaphorical teaching of Jesus is not lost on the Jews, because they don’t ask Him why He calls Himself bread, but how can He claim to have come down from Heaven.  (6: 41  “Jews then murmured.”–just like they did in the desert about the manna.)

The Bread of Life Discourse:  Invitation to the Eucharist (6: 48-58)

“I am the Bread of Life.”  We are invited to eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood.  The impact of this literal teaching of Jesus is not lost on the Jews either, because they ask how is it possible for them to eat His flesh.  (6: 32)  The crowd is thinking of cannibalism, which would be repugnant to them.  They misunderstand because Jesus give us His glorified humanity that was His after the resurrection.  This is why He calls Himself “the living bread.”  (6: 51)

We conclude then that without faith we cannot be united to Christ or recognize Him in the Eucharist.  If eating is believing in 6: 35-47; then believing leads to eating in 6: 48-58.

The Words of Eternal Life

6: 66  His disciples drew back.  This is the only time in the Gospels when Jesus is abandoned by His disciples in such large numbers.  Yet, Jesus does not soften His words or make any effort to clear up any possible misunderstanding.  Instead He asks “Will you also go away?” (6: 67)

6: 68-70  Peter’s profession of faith:  He speaks from his heart because he doesn’t yet understand the mysteries that Jesus has just revealed.  “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

The Promises of Eucharistic Adoration

The Promises of Eucharistic Adoration

Next time:  Early Christian Worship and the Liturgical Calendar.

Meditation:  Reread John 6: 68-70.  What new insight about my faith have I received from this scripture?

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Wanna Walk on Water? You Gotta Get Out of the Boat!

I have a special love for St. Peter.  Like me, he can be impetuous. (Matthew 14: 28-31)  Like me, he can seem stubborn and outspoken. (Matthew 16: 22-23) Also,  like me, there are times when his imperfections seem magnified in the presence of the Divine Holiness that is Jesus.  In Luke 5: 8, he declares to Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

And, so, in the heavenly balcony of my mind, where I have people who encourage me and lift me up, I have St. Peter.  He is there, along with the Lord, Mary, Joseph, St. Paul, and my father, cheering me on in my race to eternal life.

The following passages especially comfort me when I am suffering from physical pain.

This suffering is all a part of the work God has given you.  Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. . .

Dear friends, don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you.  Instead, be really glad- – because these trials will make you partners with Christ in His suffering, and afterwards you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory in that coming day when it will be displayed. . .

After you have suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you His eternal glory.  He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever. (1 Peter 2: 21, 4: 12-13, 5:10)

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

Luke 5: 1-11

At the Sea of Galilee, Jesus preaches to the people pressed around Him from Peter’s boat.  When He finishes He tells Peter to put out into the deep and let down his net for a catch.  Now, Peter is an experienced fisherman; he doesn’t think they’ll catch anything during the day when the fish can see the nets being lowered and avoid being caught.

However, Peter, though exhausted from a night of unsuccessful fishing, places his trust in Christ.  (Luke 5: 5)

Then, after a miraculous catch that fills two boats to the point of almost sinking, Peter knows that this is far beyond a natural event.  He declares himself a sinful man; but Jesus says, “Do not be afraid; henceforth, you will be catching men.” (Luke 5: 10)  And, they leave everything and follow Him.

Investigation

Let’s read some Scripture with the view of seeing the various ramifications of Peter’s acceptance of Jesus’ invitation to follow Him that day.  Let me show you how:

Passage:  Matthew 14: 23-33

Notes:  Peter walks on water toward Jesus, but when he takes his eyes and mind off the Lord & notices the wind and waves, he begins to sink.  He cries out, “Lord, save me.”  He is still not certain that Jesus is the Son of God.  His profession of faith comes later.  Because he followed Jesus that day, he gets out of the boat and begins to walk on water and walk toward his journey of conversion and belief in the mysteries of the faith.

Passages:

  • Matthew 18: 21-035
  • Matthew 19: 27-30
  • Matthew 26: 33-41
  • Acts 2: 14-43
  • Acts 4: 1-23
  • Acts 5: 1-16

pppas0030Next time:  St. Matthew and Bartimaeus.

Meditations:

  • Who is in your balcony and why?
  • Is Jesus in your boat?

 

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Conversion: It’s not Just for Pagans, Anymore.

“The Year of Faith, from this perspective, is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world.  In the mystery of his death and Resurrection, God has revealed in its fullness the Love that saves and calls us to conversion of life through the forgiveness of sins (cf. Acts 5: 31).  For Saint Paul, this Love ushers us into a new life: ‘We were buried. . . with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life’ (Rom 6: 4).  Through faith, this new life shapes the whole of human existence according to the radical new reality of the Resurrection.  To the extent that he freely cooperates, man’s thought and affections, mentality and conduct are slowly purified and transformed, on a journey that is never completely finished in this life.” –Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei (n. 6)

“Never completely finished in this life.”  The faith journey is ongoing; a sweet adventure, the passage to an eternal life with an infinite God where we will continue to explore the mysteries of faith forever.  This is one my my favorite thoughts to ponder and, yet, it is also a mystery, so I can never wrap my mind around it.  It’s like looking at the night time sky and trying to imagine the universe beyond the stars that we can see: a universe that goes on infinitely; a world without end.

However, I can wrap my mind around people and relationships.  I know that Jesus calls us to have a relationship with Him and to convert and follow Him.  We must turn away from the bad direction we are heading and find the good way.  Faith is the act of believing that there is a good path to follow.  Faith in Jesus believes that He is the Way to eternal life with the Father and that He will strengthen us to walk the right path all the way to its completion in eternity.

During the next few times on this blog, we are going to study some examples from the New Testament of persons who heard Jesus’ call and followed Him.  In other words, they “converted.”

On Friday, we will begin with St. Peter who is mentioned the most in the New Testament after Jesus.  After studying him, we will consider St. Matthew, Bartimaeus, and the Woman at the Well.

There are many conversion stories in the New Testament.  Faith in Jesus changed the lives of:

  • Zachaeus  Luke 19: 1-10
  • A man born blind  John 9: 35-38
  • the Ethiopian eunuch  Acts 8: 26-40
  • Saul  Acts 9: 1-22
  • Cornelius  Acts 10: 1-48
  • Lydia  Acts 16: 11-15
  • the jailer in Philippi  Acts 16: 25-34

This week let us pray the 13th century prayer of St. Richard of Whyche.

“O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, may I know Thee more clearly; love Thee more dearly, and follow Thee more nearly, day by day.”

100px-Dürer-PetrusNext time:  Simon Peter

Meditation:  How might I be blind to my own faults or sins?

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Filed under Catholic, Christian, Easter, Faith, Gospel, Jesus, New Testament, Resurrection, Simon Peter